ONE MORE DAY: The fate of Aéropostale — and the jobs of its store associates and headquarters’ staff — remained hanging in the balance after Day Two of the bankruptcy auction was adjourned until Wednesday.
A mid-day development in the auction pushed the process into Day Three. According to sources, a consortium has given the teen retailer a lifeline. These individuals said a consortium of Authentic Brands Group, landlords Simon Properties and General Growth and two liquidators who had been working together, Gordon Brothers and Hilco Merchant Resources, submitted a bid of around $250 million for about 300 U.S. stores. The bid contemplates saving the operation as a going concern, which would also save many jobs. Sources said saving the business also would have a positive impact on keeping 300 international stores in operation. The international stores, mostly franchised agreements, are not part of the bankruptcy filing in Manhattan. These individuals further said that the liquidation firms are interested so they can dispose of the stores ABG does not want.
WWD on Monday reported that in addition to Gordon Brothers and Hilco, a bid was made by Great American Group and Tiger Capital. Now the question is whether Tiger and Great American would come back with an even higher offer to outbid the consortium. Sources weren’t sure one would be forthcoming.
Sources also said that Sycamore, whose affiliate was a one-time lender at $150 million to the chain, had bid for the entire company as well. They weren’t sure if Sycamore would bid higher, or if it would be content for the deal to go through and get back its money as a secured lender.
Aéropostale still has nearly 650 stores in operation, down from the 800 stores in May at the time it filed its Chapter 11 petition.
Executives at the liquidation firms, and at ABG and Sycamore, could not be reached for comment.